Sainz pushing for early Ferrari test after Alonso exemption - The Race
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Sainz pushing for early Ferrari test after Alonso exemption

Dec 3 2020
By Edd Straw

Carlos Sainz Jr says he wants the chance to test for Ferrari in the post-season Abu Dhabi young driver test after the FIA gave permission for Fernando Alonso to drive for Renault.

Sainz – presently a McLaren driver – confirmed that he is contractually free to test for Ferrari after next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but being allowed to do so is dependent on the FIA further loosening the rules on who is allowed to test.

The one-day test is designated in the sporting regulations as only for drivers with no more than two grand prix starts, although the wording does allow the FIA to make exceptions.

Alonso has been given the go-ahead to drive on the basis that it has been opened up to drivers not participating in the 2020 F1 season – and also taking Renault and Alonso’s own contribution to helping young drivers into account.

Ferrari has previously confirmed that its Academy driver Robert Shwartzman and simulator specialist Antonio Fuoco will drive in Abu Dhabi.

But Sainz made the case that allowing him to run would not cost young drivers mileage.

As Ferrari is running two cars, Sainz need not deny Shwartzman, and his fellow FDA proteges Callum Ilott and Mick Schumacher will be driving for Alfa Romeo and Haas respectively in the Abu Dhabi sessions.

“Now that the hand has been opened a bit for drivers that are not rookies or not young drivers to test, I don’t see why the FIA wouldn’t maybe open the hand a bit to further drivers” :: Carlos Sainz Jr

This suggests Ferrari’s argument will be that Renault was given special dispensation because of its commitment to young drivers elsewhere, but that as it is ensuring its three Academy drivers will be running in the test even if Sainz does drive, it should be allowed to run its new driver.

“Yeah, I’m willing to test for Ferrari,” said Sainz when asked about the possibility by The Race.

“I think it’s no secret, especially now that the hand has been opened a bit by the FIA for drivers that are not rookies or not young drivers to test.

“I don’t see why the FIA wouldn’t maybe open the hand a bit to further drivers.

“Personally, I wouldn’t take any young driver out of the seat – Callum, Mick and Robert Shwartzman, I think they are all still going to test so if I can be in a Ferrari, I’m not going to not allow them to test, they’re going to still be testing,

“I think Ferrari is one of the teams that are promoting young drivers the most right now so I don’t see why I shouldn’t also get the chance to test.

“Fernando looks in pretty good shape and pretty young. So I think to the naked eye, he certainly passes as a young driver…” :: Daniel Ricciardo

“I don’t know what’s going to happen to be honest. I don’t know what’s the FIA’s decision but you can tell that I’m going to try and be there as much as I can.”

Sainz was asked explicitly if he had put in a request to test, which he dodged, but stressed that he was willing and able to do so.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Sakhir Grand Prix Preparation Day Sakhir, Bahrain

“I’m not going to say what we are going to do,” said Sainz, who will definitely get mileage in an older Ferrari before official 2021 testing.

“But I’m telling you that I’m very willing to be in that Abu Dhabi test especially because my contract allows me to do so.”

McLaren confirmed in October that it would not be participating in the Abu Dhabi test, meaning new signing Daniel Ricciardo will not drive its car until pre-season testing in 2021.

Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo says he is not concerned about the fact the rules would not allow him to run given he never saw it as a possibility.

“From my side, I was never going to participate, it was always from 2021 onwards so I don’t really fell like personally I’ve lost out because it was nothing I ever expected to do,” said Ricciardo when asked by The Race if he thought it was fair that Alonso could test but drivers switching teams could not.

“I think Fernando’s been maintaining a lot of health and fitness. He looks in pretty good shape and pretty young. So I think to the naked eye, he certainly passes as a young driver…”

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